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  Marvin Gaye Park & the Down By the Riverside Campaign

A Partnership of the DC government, non-profit organizations, and the Watts Branch Stream Valley.


  • Leveraged over $30 million in new public and private funding
  • Mobilized over 600 job trainees and 90,000 volunteers
  • Created new jobs in and alongside the park
  • Removed 3000 tires, 16,000 hypodermic needles, & 80,000 bags of garbage
  • Towed 105 abandoned cars and trucks
  • Hauled out over 9,000,000 pounds of bulk trash and debris
  • Cleaned up dozens of old dump and clean-up piles
  • Cleared, reopened, and reconstructed 2 miles of trail, stream, and stream bank
  • Removed thousands of exotic invasive plants choking the ecosystem
  • Planted 4000 native trees
  • Dramatically reduced crime and improved park safety
  • Created Marvin Gaye Amphitheater on what was previously the most crime-ridden site in the park
  • Produced Arts in the Park (art, dance, music, talent)
  • Launched Watts Branch Community Alliance and advisory Council
  • Opened community park headquarters at the old Barnett's Café and Crystal Room, now renamed Riverside Center
  • Addressed over 100 public meetings and 400 classes about Marvin Gaye Park and the Watts Branch stream
  • Held rallies and galvanized thousands of supporters for Ten-Point Call to Action
  • Briefed city and federal officials at 18 agencies, City Council, & Mayor's Cabinet on needed actions
  • Held community press conferences together with city agencies and partners
  • Stopped sewage leaks at numerous sites along stream
  • Documented Watts Branch improvements with thousands of photographs and dozens of taped and videotaped interviews; mounted public photograph installation celebrating the park and its renewal
  • Launched new youth park mapping project with National Geographic
  • Sponsored youth programs such as classes, parades, Bike Rodeos, Health Fairs, Fun Runs, Field Days, Nature Walks, Talent Shows, Concerts, and more.
  • Started outdoor film and music programs at Heritage Green
  • Started Farm Market with fresh locally grown produce
  • Won designation as one of ten 21st Century American Heritage Parks
  • Won Helping Hands Award from the National Congress for Community Economic Development
  • Apprehended illegal dumpers and blocked further dumping at most sections of park by installing hundreds of bollards along the edge of the park
  • Launched Heart & Soul health and fitness park program

The park and campaign has garnered extensive media coverage:

  • East of the River Magazine        
  • BBC Radio
    • Channel 16
  • Fox Morning News
    • News Channel 4
  • USA Weekend
    • District Chronicles
  • WAMU/ Public Interest
    • WJLA Channel 7 News
  • News Channel 8
    • WUSA Channel 9
  • Washington Post Style Section
    • Washington Post Magazine
  • Washington City Paper
    • Maryland Public Radio
  • Black Entertainment Television

  • Read about the campaign's history as well as articles detailing its revitalization. You may also view the Marvin Gaye Park Photo Gallery or a watercolor map of the entire stream-valley. Or find out more about the Riverside Center. To join the campaign, contact us online
    or call Washington Parks & People
    at 202-GO-2-PARK (202-462-7275).